A Decluttered Home Is More Prepared for Emergencies

Excessive clutter inside a home is not simply a housekeeping issue, it’s also a major disadvantage in certain emergency scenarios. Everyone knows how surplus “stuff” tends to accumulate over a period of time.  Though it’s almost always a routine annoyance, during a household crisis, clutter can make a bad situation far worse. Here are a few examples of how clutter complicates emergencies and makes recovery and repair more difficult:

Fire Hazards

When a house is disarrayed and over-filled with stored items, adding fire to the picture is the setting for potential disaster. Clutter often blocks normal routes of escape through doors, windows or other rooms. It may also conceal a fire in its early stages, delaying the call for help and increasing the potential for injury or death. First responders to the fire may find it difficult to access parts of the home to rescue residents as well as get water where it is needed to extinguish flames.

Water Damage

A plumbing emergency such as a ruptured pipe may be hidden by boxes or stacks of possessions in a cluttered home. Water damage may therefore be far advanced by the time occupants realize there’s a problem and the origin of the water may be hard to track down. Stored items may themselves become saturated, heavy and unstable, greatly complicating the extraction of water from the house for water damage remediation crews.

Mold Growth

Clutter can also be a point of origin for toxic mold growth, which can pose a long-term health threat. Mold can be difficult to pinpoint and identify in interior disarray. It feeds on organic material including cardboard and paper, then releases airborne spores that spread throughout the house. The lack of proper air circulation in a cluttered room stacked with possessions also supports the growth of mold that thrives in a musty, stale environment.

Physical Hazards

Items arranged haphazardly in the house can make trip and fall injuries more likely, particularly when attempting to quickly evacuate a house during an emergency. Also stacks of heavy items may be unstable and collapse.

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